Context: Hanukkah Part I, The Ptolemaic 24. Alexander the Great and the Old Testament 5 months ago   07:48

The Complicated Hanukkah Story
Or It's All Greek To Me

Times of Israel blog post:

Like winter holidays around the world, Hanukkah celebrates light. In this case the light of the olive oil that lit the Menorah when the Maccabees rededicated the Temple of Jerusalem in 164 B.C.E. But as you would expect, the story of Hanukkah is a lot more complicated than one might imagine. Getting to that olive oil is a journey through the dissolution Alexander the Great’s empire and the first clash between Greece and Rome. The events in ancient Israel are just a small part of an extended regional war.

In the first chapter The Complicated Hanukkah Story, Alexander the Great's Empire has split in two and Israel is under the control of the Ptolemaic Empire centered in Egypt. Greek culture had spread throughout the region. But things are still okay for the Jews under the Ptolemys, they were free to practice their religion without restriction.

Blog post:

Comments 3 Comments

The relationship between the Ptolemies and the people of Alexandria (including the Jews) should be understood in the light that the Ptolemies were essentially bluffing as rulers. In reality they had no home to go back, their children, now grown, have never seen Greece, and they were really more of a visitors, stranded in Egypt, than an occupying power. They had to please every ethnic group, because their existence depended on it. The situation will change dramatically for the people of Alexandria when Rome takes over, and brings Roman taxation and Roman law with it. They will be a true occupying power, and the Jews will pay the price, literally, in heavy taxes, which will lead to the great Jewish revolt in Northern Egypt. Rome will have to bring in legions from Syria to put it down.
Thank you for the upload... 
Add Reply

24. Alexander the Great and the Old Testament Context: Hanukkah Part I, The Ptolemaic 5 months ago   31:40

When Alexander swept through the ancient world, conquering the Persian Empire, and establishing a Greek presence throughout the Near East, the entire shape of the ancient world changed. It was this moment that transformed ancient civilization to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. Though never mentioned by name, the career of Alexander is the subject of certainly Old Testament texts summarized in this presentation. For more free resources, please visit